• Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023


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What California Voters Need to Know for Election Day

There’s a wide range of races for statewide office, as well as many local contests. You’ll be asked to make your pick for governor (Gov. Gavin Newsom is up for re-election), lieutenant governor, treasurer, attorney general and more.

You’ll be asked to vote for a House representative. And you’ll be asked to vote for U.S. senator — twice: Once to fill the remainder of Vice President Kamala Harris’s term, which ends in January, and once for the full six-year term that begins after that.

Then, depending on where you live, you’ll have local elections for your city council, district attorney, mayor, state legislators and more. (In San Francisco, for instance, voters will be asked whether to recall Chesa Boudin, the district attorney.)

As of 2011, California has what’s known as a top-two primary system, which means the top two candidates will move on to the general election in November regardless of their political party. Races in November could be showdowns between two Democrats or two Republicans, rather than the top Democrat and the top Republican.

In nearly all of the statewide elections, there will be a runoff, even if one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote. State superintendent of public instruction is a notable exception.

In local races, a candidate can win outright with a majority of the vote. The highest profile example is the Los Angeles mayor’s race. (If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote this month, they’ll become mayor without facing a runoff in November.)

We, of course, can’t answer that. But you may want to read through your local newspaper’s endorsements, since they’ll have interviewed candidates. Here are the candidates The Los Angeles Times endorsed in state and local elections in Southern California. The Sacramento Bee has compiled its endorsements here. And here’s The San Francisco Chronicle’s list of endorsements for state and local elections.